Atma Xplorer

Xploring Games, Computing, Photography

Blog Engines (Part 1)

After reading a friend’s post on Host and Standalone blogs, I decided to do some research (mainly because I couldn’t play RF) on some of the blog engines available today.

When you decide to start blogging, the biggest question aside from what to blog about is which blog engine is suited for you. You can go commercial or free?the choice is indefinitely on a tool that suits you and your needs perfectly. Before starting a blog, think over contents-to be of your blog and the audience you are writing for.

I have compiled some information on some popular blog engines and added some reviews on their features.

Update: Edited a few inconsistencies and added some more info

Blogger is a lightweight blogging engine served by the giant, Google (bought not developed). It?s one of the pioneers in the industry, being one of earliest blog engines that made blogging so popular. You can register with Blogger for free or use any of your existing Google Accounts (gmail, picasa, etc). The key feature of Blogger is its simplicity and its themes. The negative features are its incompatibility with plug-ins, being closed-sourced, and the oh-so-hard-to-comment-system. Blogger blogs are very friendly with search engines as it is a part of Google.

Blog City
Administering blogs with Blog City, another senior from blogging history, is quite simple and it’s also free. Minimalists will love the simple and informative interface. Blog City also integrates a WIKI into their system, giving users more control over publishing their data. Although not feature-rich, Blog City is a text-based user-friendly blog engine. The missing features are a photo gallery and eye-splashing themes. Moreover, forced advertisements may be considered as another drawback. Blog City is also slightly heavier to load, i.e. it takes more time to download, than its peers.

Yahoo 360
Plenty of features make Yahoo 360 one of the coolest blog engines. Yahoo 360 was introduced in 2005. Generally, Yahoo 360 is a social-communicating tool in which blogging is a feature. Integration with a lot of public services like Flickr and Yahoo news, Yahoo news, and Yahoo messenger with the release of v8.0, makes it efficient and very strong in the market. However, all these things also confuse a blogger whose main target is only blogging. Other features include custom themes, mature content, personalized comments and embedded media.

Like Yahoo 360, Multiply is free and offers integrated services like photo sharing, audio and video streaming and calendar events. Multiply?s entire blog platform is built on Javascript and AJAX. While it offers snazzy effects and a shiny interface, it can bog down sometimes. Like Myspace and Yahoo 360, only people who have added you as their contact can see your posts and updates. Features include custom themes via CSS (and CSS), and unlimited storage. Drawbacks that bite current users would be those pesky Google Ads embedded right into the template so while you might be able to change how your site looks, the ads remain adamantly the same. There is no support for plug-ins.


Microsoft Live Spaces
Formerly known as MSN spaces is the blogging tool introduced by the software giant, Microsoft in December, 2004. This blog is integrated with MSN Messenger and features a photo gallery, capability to SMS content from mobile phones, and integration with MyMSN. There are plenty of features that are not particularly suited for just blogging, but rather for social communication and personalization like online music players and gadgets. MSN spaces serve advertisements in their blogs and the entire blog engine is a little heavyweight because they use AJAX for the interface.

Six Apart
Six Apart is another company that deals with blogging. It developed several popular blogging engines some of which are free while some are not. Among them, MovableType is a very popular blogging engine. MovableType sets the standards for many blogging features and develops one of the three popular blogging APIs (MovableType, MetaWeblog, and Blogger API). Movable Type is one of best choice for anyone serious about blogging with the immense number of features like blog stats, tagging tools and media managing and several nifty introductions like OpenID, Admin XML Feeds, cross-blog aggregation, and more. Other engines offer the same functionality with plugins and widgets but MovableType has them built right into it’s core. The release of Movable Type 4 added more features to the already powerful giant making it a strong competitor to WordPress and ExpressionEngine.

The other blogging engines developed by SixApart are Vox, TypePad, and LiveJournal. Among these, LiveJournal is very popular. You would be surprised if you see some of the statistics of LiveJournal. It is a hosted free blogging engine that has more than 96 million accounts among which 19 million are active. The number of posts per hour is above 18000.

ExpressionEngine supports a lot of features, so it is actually more than a blog engine; sometimes it is called a web publishing engine by its developers and with good reason. Even when you compare ExpressionEngine with other CMSs with its features, it will obtain a higher rank. ExpressionEngine is sleek, powerful, and documented very well by its developers. It has tons of features and modules like forums, WIKI and a mailing list, making it a very attractive option to anyone who likes integrate functionality. Like MovableType, immense functionality and numerous features has been integrated into it’s core instead of installing them via plugins and widgets. ExpressionEngine is a commercial and costly blogging tool (better say an advanced CMS), which also supports a very restricted free version with minimal features. Moreover, its administration panel is quite complicated, which can be daunting to learn for beginners and non-technical bloggers. Plugins for ExpressionEngine run through a meticulous series of tests before being publicly released to prevent security exploits. If you do shoulder the cost, you’ll be at the receiving end of a very solid support system, one that many blogging engines lack.

The series is continued here


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